One of the challenges we face as an editorial and education team is how to cover the same core sphere of topics each year in a way that provides a solid foundation of knowledge for those new to the self-storage business, while also remaining fresh and insightful for industry veterans. The key is to strike a meaningful balance between introductory information, important points to review, and interesting trends and developments within any given topic. This holds true when planning editorial for the Inside Self-Storage magazine and website, as well as education for the ISS World Expo.
There are times when some of you must get tired of reading articles or attending seminars on the same topics year after year. While it’s natural to want to gloss over stories or skip conference sessions covering topics on which you believe you have sufficient knowledge, it’s also important to force yourself to resist this temptation on occasion. The reason is the difference between proficiency and mastery.
Professional baseball, basketball or football players have been doing the same fundamental exercises since they were little kids. Even as professionals, they concentrate on the basics each preseason and continue to work on them in season during practices. Why does someone in the top 1 percent of their profession need to field a hundred ground balls, shoot a hundred free throws or repetitively run receiver routes every day if they physically and intellectually already know how to do these things? Elite athletes talk a lot about the mental edge they have over competitors. They are able to push through the doldrums and redundancy of practice because they are dedicated to the process of mastering the core fundamentals of their craft. Athletes strive to create muscle memory to the point where they don’t have to think about an action during competition; they simply react when needed and perform.
The best self-storage professionals do this also. Facility managers who excel at sales, customer service or collections can quickly adapt to any situation. They instinctively respond with insight and experience to whatever confronts them. When disaster strikes, how quickly can you spring into action vs. feeling overwhelmed by the moment or having to consult a checklist of what to do and who to call? Your level of preparedness could save or cost your business.
Self-storage owners experienced in developing new facilities or expanding existing assets become more comfortable with each project. The more you understand about feasibility and the due-diligence process, for example, the easier it becomes to know how to mine for and discuss with your build team the pieces of information on which you’ll base critical business decisions. The same is true when working to obtain financing, performing facility audits or identifying new revenue streams.
Nothing beats actually doing these things, of course. Practical experience is invaluable and the ultimate training ground. But professional development is a key component to expanding perspective, uncovering new nuggets of insight, and discovering trends or changes within the industry that may be important to the future of your business.
Staying informed and reviewing self-storage fundamentals is essentially practice. It’s a process. Our goal is to help you improve efficiencies and make adjustments to drive your business forward. Each time you read an article or attend an educational session about a core subject and apply its principles to your daily operation, you’re creating muscle memory for your brain.
If you need a little motivation to get up for practice, we’ve started our ISS Store Black Friday specials a little early this year. Each of our 2016 ISS Expo DVD 5-Packs is on sale through Nov. 30. These packages are excellent for new investors, owners or managers just learning the business as well as seasoned veterans interested in strengthening revenue management or exploring business expansion. Here’s what’s on tap:
- Self-Storage Building: Five education sessions that address critical aspects of self-storage construction and development. Get insight to site selection, approvals, layout, building styles and more.
- Self-Storage Investing 101: Five education sessions designed for new investors. Get insight to the industry, feasibility factors, buying property, financing and more.
- Self-Storage Management 101: Five education sessions offering insight to manager essentials and professional development, sales, legal issues and marketing.
- Self-Storage Ownership 101: Five education sessions offering insight to economics, best practices, staff hiring and training, insurance and more.
- Self-Storage Revenue Management: Five education sessions offering insight to rental rates, collections, add-on profit centers, expenses and facility auditing.
From all of us at ISS, we wish you a safe and festive Thanksgiving.